UK Politician Theresa May Tries To Out-Orwell Orwell With Insanely Authoritarian Speech

from the i-am-the-decider-of-good-and-bad-thoughts dept

We’ve written a few times about Theresa May, the UK’s Home Secretary, who seems to have scarily authoritarian, anti-democratic and anti-free speech views. While she insists that the UK isn’t a surveillance state, she can’t tell you why, because revealing the secrets of the UK surveillance state might put the public at risk. Since late last year, she’s been pushing strongly for outlawing thought crimes, which would allow her to prevent people from sharing their views on the internet or at events, if she deems them to be too extreme. After the recent election, the plan to move this forward has gone into effect, with David Cameron gleefully announcing that just obeying the law will no longer stop the UK government from harassing you. Now, if it doesn’t like you or what you believe, you will be silenced.

Given all that, it is absolutely terrifying to read Theresa May’s recent speech given at the Metropolitan Police’s counter-terrorism conference. Given the audience, perhaps it shouldn’t be too surprising that May would go off the deep end of Orwellian craziness — but it’s still fairly astounding to see what she actually said. It honestly reads like a bad novel or bad movie script where an editor or producer would scribble on the page “no real person talks like that.” Theresa May does, apparently. Here are some of the lowlights.

Time and again we are seeing what we are now up against: the powerful allure of propaganda pumped out by ISIL and others to recruit and brainwash British men and women, the access social media and modern communications give terrorists to vulnerable people, and the desire of those terrorists to poison others against our values and our way of life.

And so we begin with FUD. This popular idea that because ISIS is pretty good at using social media, it’s that social media that is the problem. While there are lots of news stories out there claiming that ISIS’ social media usage is drawing recruits, actual research into what’s going on paints a much more nuanced picture that suggests that while social media is one tool that is used for recruiting, there is almost no evidence to suggest that the social media campaign is successful in “brainwashing” men and women to support ISIS. Rather, the hype about ISIS and social media is overblown. Most of the recruitment actually comes from within existing social circles. It may use the internet, but it’s not happening because of the internet.

Lots of studies have certainly found that social media plays a part, but it doesn’t suggest that merely silencing social media will help. A RAND study found no evidence “that the internet accelerates radicalisation or replaces the need for individuals to meet in person during their radicalisation process,” and it also “didn’t find any supporting evidence for the concept of self-radicalisation through the internet.” While other studies, such as those from the Soufan Group and the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation, show more support for radicalization on the internet, and also note that social media is just one component that pushes those who are already marginalized into deciding to take that step. In other words, these are often people on the edge already, and it’s not clear that censorship is likely to help, other than making these people feel more marginalized.

May goes on to detail various attacks in the UK and elsewhere in Europe, drumming up more fear. And, it’s true, that the world is a dangerous place and many people are trying to cause harm. But to think that the answer to that is more surveillance, silencing free speech and making the marginalized feel more marginalized… well, that seems like an approach destined to fail. But it’s the approach May supports wholeheartedly, as she gleefully talks about the approach taken by her government. First, she really enjoys kicking people out of the country if she doesn’t like them:

We made it easier to get rid of undesirable foreign nationals, including terrorists and terror suspects.


Since August 2013 I have deprived 10 people of their British citizenship on the grounds that I do not consider their presence in the UK to be conducive to the public good.

Think about that latter statement for a second. Because a government official decides that she doesn’t think your presence in the UK is “conducive to the public good” she can simply strip their British citizenship. I’m sure that doesn’t anger those folks and encourage them to join forces with those who hate the UK at all

And, of course, the censorship:

Our Internet Referral Unit takes down terrorist-related content from the internet, and since February 2010 we have removed more than 90,000 pieces of material ? currently removing around 1,000 pieces a week.

Again, because making content that marginalized groups are reading disappear doesn’t make them feel more oppressed and more angry at all…

And, of course, she’s been actively expanding her powers in these areas:

We introduced a new power to temporarily seize the passports of people suspected of travelling to engage in terrorism overseas, and since it came into force I can confirm that we have used this power and it has proved effective….

We extended the Authority To Carry provisions, and we are refusing airlines authority to carry to the UK people who have been excluded or deported from the UK or who are using invalid, stolen or lost travel documents.

And then, of course, she eagerly draws in all sorts of institutions — including schools — to have a responsibility to be trying to sniff out those darn terrorists in their midst:

And from 1 July the new statutory Prevent duty for specified authorities will commence. Once this has been fully implemented it will require local authorities, the police, prisons, probation services, schools, colleges ? and yes, universities too ? to have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism.

The end result? The UK is locking up tons of people on charges of terrorism, despite no actual terrorism happening there:

Mark Rowley, the Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, summed up that workload earlier this year when he said that terrorists are being arrested at a rate of almost one every day.

You’d think with so many terrorists, at least a few more attacks would get through. Or is this all just a bit of a “rounding up the marginalized people” exercise?

Hilariously, at the end of the speech, she says that the best way to counter this threat is to highlight the “positive vision” of the UK and its “values.”

So the Government has announced a new counter-extremism strategy to protect people from extremism in all its forms: non-violent and violent, Islamist and neo-Nazi. At the heart of that strategy sits a positive vision of Britain and our values, and an open offer to work in partnership with all those determined to eradicate extremism.

Considering she just spent most of the speech advocating censorship, kicking undesirable people out of the country and greater and greater surveillance powers, it seems that those “values” are pretty clear. And, as she makes it clear in the very next paragraph, apparently the “value” of letting those marginalized people speak out is not included:

I want this partnership to reclaim that debate?. to defeat their poisonous ideology? and deny them the opportunity to spread messages of hate and division.

None of this, of course, is to defend ISIS or its media propaganda machine, which at the very least has been effective in getting its message out. But the idea that the way to counter this is through censorship, surveillance and threats, rather than direct engagement seems to muddle the message of claiming the UK is about freedom and democracy, doesn’t it?

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Comments on “UK Politician Theresa May Tries To Out-Orwell Orwell With Insanely Authoritarian Speech”

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Ninja (profile) says:

…and the desire of those terrorists to poison others against our values and our way of life…

…on the grounds that I do not consider their presence in the UK to be conducive to the public good…

Notice how she is sociopath with a great megalomaniac tendency. It’s about me, me, me. Our stuff, what I think it’s right. Fuck you all who don’t agree with the almighty ME. People like these are disgusting. And often are diagnosed psychopaths. So there’s that, UK has some loon in charge of defense it seems. (Never mind the rest of the Government)

I want this partnership to reclaim that debate…. to defeat their poisonous ideology… and deny them the opportunity to spread messages of hate and division.

LOL. What the fuck is the message she’s spreading about then? If anything it’s hate, division AND insanity. She’s doing the exact same as ISIS. Shameful.

I don’t fear petty terrorists, I fear people like May.

observer (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:

The rhetoric that May, Cameron et al are using about the “extremists” etc they intend to target with the extra powers they’re trying to claim for themselves is disturbingly similar to the rhetoric that politicians and their tame media have been using about protesters since the election. It’s never a good thing when politicians in a democracy start using the language of authoritarianism and dictatorship.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

If anyone follows UK politics, she’s been noted as being homophobic even while supposedly being the Minister for women and equality, so that she now hates anything to do with the Islamic religion doesn’t really surprise me.
Here’s the FB page:

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

What she hates is anything that doesn’t fit within her view of what she is able to control. She isn’t homophobic or islamaphobic, that is a facade she uses to obtain better leverage to control the voting public.

Most of these types of people couldn’t care less about anyone else’s belief systems as long as everyone else is compliant to the party line.

Mark my words, the actual target of all this propaganda will be very clearly seen soon and many will applaud the UK government for its direct and society stabilising actions. The true radicals will be hunted, imprisoned, publicly tried and executed.

This will rapidly proceed from the UK to the EU and then further afield.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

many will not applaud the UK government my friend, they will never be able to control the voting public. there propaganda will not win also you cant be executed in the UK also what “true radicals” are you talking about? I do not know if you like her or not? but the fact is they will never control anything

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

so that she now hates anything to do with the Islamic religion doesn’t really surprise me.

Actually it should – because mainstream politicians will NEVER criticise Islam itself (too many votes at stake) so they will always claim that ISIS etc are an aberration that has nothing to do with real Islam.

IN fact this is exactly what she has done if you read a bit more of her recent words you will find this:

“This hateful ideology has nothing to do with Islam itself. And it is rejected by the overwhelming majority of Muslims in Britain and around the world. The Quran says: “O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other.” It says: “let there be no compulsion in religion.” So let the message go out from this hall that the extremists will never succeed in dividing us. Let the message go out that we know Islam is a religion of peace and it has nothing to do with the ideology of our enemies.’”

Of course she is wrong here because in fact those particular verses are hedged around with caveats and later superseded by other verses that say the exact opposite.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The same is happening down under in Australia with the same words, arguments & laws being used & put in place. It has got to such a stage that our PM Tony Abbott is doing the work of ISIS himself, all to get re-elected by scaring the sheeple into believing he is the answer to the fears he alone has created.

Anonymous Coward says:

I have deprived 10 people of their British citizenship on the grounds that I do not consider their presence in the UK to be conducive to the public good.

People on the “Left” consider the “Right” not conducive to the public good, people on the “Right” (like May) consider the “Left” not conducive to the public good, and people in the “Middle” consider both the “Left” and the “Right” not conducive to the public good. It’s very clear exactly where this tactic of revoking citizenship leads and it’s confirmed by this:

protect people from extremism in all its forms: non-violent and violent

This is the most frightening quote of the lot. Why the fuck would you need to protect people from the non-violent? This sort of thing naturally leads to attacks on political opponents.

Anonymous Coward says:

come on guys. this isn’t anything to do with stopping the radicalisation of people, convincing them to join ISIS or any other organisation. it is part of the same ‘plot’ that is being hatched in almost every what are supposed to be, democratic country that supports freedom, free speech and privacy. the whole aim is to ensure that whatever country tries at the time to bring in some anti citizen law or ruling, the governments will have forward knowledge if there is going to be any form of retaliation, where it will happen and when. by having laws in place that do more to promote terrorism than the terrorists themselves, these governments are doing the job of persuading people to leave the generations old way of life and take up one that seems to be less invasive of views but has the added kicker of the violence. i remember reading a piece that was supposed to have a saying from Bin Laden. he said, apparently, that governments would be doing the job of terrorists so there would be no need for those terrorists to do anything themselves! seems as if what he predicted is getting closer to reality.
why is it that a government is never happy until it knows what every single person is doing everywhere, with everyone? and why is it that then they pass all that info over to massive corporations so they can bleed us dry, expecting us to buy everything they have to sell, even when there is no money left! and even worse, they tell the various governments what to bring into law and how/when to enforce those laws. we are heading towards a world that is nothing but a giant corporation, where we have nothing, including no rights!!

Claire Rand says:

Its not her...

Or at least not just this specific halfwit, there is something very wrong in the home office, *everyone* whos gone in there in my memory has turned from being as normal as a politician ever gets into a raving loony as soon as the chip goes into the back of the neck.

The whole department needs some very bright sunlight pointing at it to find out exactly why its gone this way and exactly what they are afraid of, its not “us” as that doesn’t need this level of paranoia.

PRoblem is not so much thinking 1984 is a manual as that Brazil was a documentary.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Its not her...

It could be as simple as ‘power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely’.

It’s easy to make promises when you’re running for office about how you’ll serve the public and reign in the government abuses, but the real test of character comes when someone gets elected, and finds out that reigning in government abuses also means that their power will be limited as a result. Unfortunately it seems the vast majority of politicians, in every country, fail the test of character at that point, prioritizing personal power over serving the public.

Adding insult to injury, those rare few that don’t succumb quickly find out that they’re surrounded by people that did, making following through on their promises all but impossible.

observer (user link) says:

Re: Re: Its not her...

And within the surveillance apparatus itself: there are obviously going to be some people who join up thinking that they’re going to be able to do some good. It’s by all accounts a soul-destroying and thankless job, and it tends to be the ones with a conscience who burn out in their first year, leaving the ones who actively enjoy invading people’s privacy to advance up the hierarchy and end up advising the politicians. Not that the likes of High Inquisitor May need any such prompting, of course. It’s not so much power corrupting, as the people who want the power being the least suited to actually having it.

That One Guy (profile) says:

And the award for 'Most effective terrorist recruiter' goes to...

I cannot think of a better (non-military) way to boost terrorist recruitment numbers than actions like those she is fervently supporting.

You fight objectionable speech with more speech, not less. Doing everything you can to silence someone merely makes their message look all the more valid to those listening, as it makes it look like you have no actual rebuttal to what’s being said, and are trying to shut down the speech as a result.

Silencing objectionable speech does not undermine it, it supports it, it adds legitimacy to it by making it look like those being silenced have legitimate concerns and points and those in power cannot counter them with speech, so they resort to brute force.

She isn’t fighting terrorists, she’s doing their job for them, more effectively than they could ever hope to at that, and terrorist supporters like her have no place in any public office.

Anonymous Coward says:

You know what’s usually missing from all those dystopian novels that make us all say “something awful could happen if we’re not careful”?

A prologue that includes a bunch of characters discussing the behavior of their governments, saying “something awful could happen if we’re not careful.”

GEMont (profile) says:

Beware the Terrorist under YOUR bed, and now in YOUR head.

“…but it doesn’t suggest that merely silencing social media will help.”

Well now, that depends entirely on what it is, precisely, that you wish to help, by silencing social media.

Certainly silencing social media will have no affect upon The Terrorist Horde and its mythical on-line recruitment of incredibly stupid white citizens of the Five Eyes Nations.

Perhaps a simple examination of the things that WOULD be helped by silencing social media, might lead to a more comprehensive understanding of what the true goal is.

Oh, if only there were still some people who could actually do such simple examinations and analysis… but alas, t’is most difficult to think clearly when cowering in the closet for fear of the Terrorist Horde under the bed.

C’est la vie eh.

GEMont (profile) says:

Re: Re: Beware the Terrorist under YOUR bed, and now in YOUR head.

Silencing Social Media may not really be necessary, if your goal is to render it useless.

Simply fill it with so much complete shit that one would need a nuke to clear away the detritus and discern the real stuff from the Official crapola.

The Russians are already working on this “so much shit” operation as we speak.

We simply have too few documents from Snowden to realize how large and entrenched, the American (FiveEyes) version of this program of paid shills already is.

“If you cannot shut them up, drown them out with excessive background noise.”

Results are the same.

GEMont (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Beware the Terrorist under YOUR bed, and now in YOUR head.

“You can see them by the dozen…”

The trick is to determine who they actually work for.

BigOil. MilIndCom. SecurInd. Pharma. USGuv. CanGuv. FrenchGuv. GermanGuv. BritishGuv. RussiaGuv. CIAF BINSA. KGB. CSIS. Christianutty. Crispians. Accordians. Discordians. SONY. Rosicrucians. Cruzirosians. Islumers. SPERG. HolyWood. Judaethingies. Muzzy-Islums. Izzy-Muzzlims. Contrarians. Satanistas. Jitterbuggers. Cat-Lovers. Cosplayers…. ad infinitum….

So many of Mammon’s Dirty Tricksters out there today that its totally impossible to figure out why they’re all supposed to be different, when they all use the same tactics and the same arguments, for the same reasons.

Probably due to sunspots.

The sad truth though, is that they’re really un-necessary, since the vast majority of humanity is determined to judge a book by its PR ads, and look the devil in the eye, by closing both eyes and sticking their heads collectively up their ass.

The only real consolation is that the extra expense of running the Shill Game, eats into their cocaine and bimbo budgets, even if those budgets are covered by taxpayers.

Anonymous Coward says:

Oh well history is on repeat again

Stripping citizenship of undesireables.

Denying travel to those deemed undesireable.

Restricting information and media.

Rounding up undesireables at an alarming rate.

Wanting to restore the empire to its former glory.

Urging and forcing everyone to report and detain undesireables.

Inventing crimes to blame on undesireables.

Those are all signs of the time we learned in german history.
Undesireables/foreigners where the sick, non-aryans, jews, communists,…
Book burnings of undesirable information.
All those rounded up daily surely need some kind of prison or at least a camp of some sort.

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